Dealing with a neighbor who keeps complaining about your noise can feel like an uphill battle. It can be a difficult situation to navigate for anyone. Thankfully, we have a few solutions that may help you silence your noise-sensitive neighbor.
If your neighbor keeps complaining about your noise, you should give them the benefit of the doubt and try to understand what exactly is bothering them. Then, adjust your behaviors. If they are persistent, you may have to get your landlord involved.
Oh, if only it were that easy! We understand that the situation can be a little more complicated than that. So, we have outlined exactly what you should do to quiet down your grumpy neighbor.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
Unfortunately, we can’t choose our neighbors but we can choose how we deal with them. If your neighbor is constantly accusing you of too much noise, try some of these products that can help diminish the noise that comes from your property.
1. Noise absorbent curtains – Attractive and effective decor
2. Foam panels – Give your apartment a music studio vibe with these great acoustic panels
3. Windows and doors soundproofing strips – An easy way to trap noise inside
Before we get into what you should do about your neighbor, we’re sure you have questions about what even is too much noise. So, read on to find out what is considered acceptable and unacceptable noise.
What Level of Noise Is Acceptable?
Any noise that does not surpass 60 decibels (dB) is considered acceptable in residential homes. This is the equivalent level of a vacuum cleaner. Any noise at this level for a long period of time is unacceptable.
When we are young, we all learn to use our “indoor voices” inside. This is for good reason, especially when you have neighbors close by.
Every homeowner or renter deserves to live in peace, so, as a neighbor, you should keep your noise levels below the unacceptable level- anything louder than a vacuum cleaner.
What Is Considered Normal Living Noise?
Normal living noise can be any noise that is produced while you go about your life at home. The noise is typically peaceful and steady.
The following activities produce normal living noise:
- Creaking floors
- Doors opening and closing
- General conversations
- Pots being hit together occasionally while cooking
- The sound of footsteps
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Moves Your Trash Can
What Is Excessive Noise by Neighbors?
Excessive noise by neighbors are noises that are unusual and do not happen every day such as loud music or noise from parties. These noises typically last for a long period of time.
Any time you create more noise than usual, it is considered unusual, such as:
- Loud music
- A dog barking excessively
- Loud TV
- Loud conversations
- Excessive hammering
- Slamming of doors
What Time Can I Play Music Until?
Most cities have bylaws that state you can only play music until 10 PM, sometimes 11 PM but no later. If you want to continue to play music, you need to turn it way down so that it does not disturb your neighbors.
Even outside of these hours, you should still play your music at a reasonable level. If you think it’s so loud that your neighbors can hear it, it is too loud.
You can determine if your music is too loud by visiting your neighbor and asking if they can hear your music.
Or, if you live in a detached house, you can close all of your doors and step outside. If you can still hear your music, it’s likely your neighbors can, too.
Can Neighbors Complain About Noise During the Day?
It is more difficult for neighbors to complain about noise during the day since many bylaws only state that you cannot create loud noise at night. Typically during the day, you are free to do whatever you want.
However, just because there are no specific bylaws that state how loud you can be during the day, does not mean that you can make all the noise you want.
You should still respect your neighbor’s peace and privacy by trying not to be so loud that they can hear you.
If you believe that you were not making excessive noise during the day but your neighbor still complains, they may not be able to do too much about it, specifically in the eyes of the law.
And, unfortunately, you may have a difficult neighbor on your hands.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Won’t Turn Down Their Music
What To Do When Your Neighbor Complains About You
Okay, now for the juicy stuff. Let’s dive into exactly what you should do when your irritated neighbor thinks you’re noisier than Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
What Do I Do When My Neighbor Keeps Harassing Me About Noise?
Having open communication with your neighbor about their constant noise concerns is going to be the best way for you to deal with the issue, for the time being.
Start by discussing with your neighbor what exactly is irritating them. If it is your weekly Friday night parties, you can work on keeping your guests quieter and also turning down the music.
Listen attentively to whatever is bothering them and hopefully, they will understand that you are not purposefully trying to annoy them
You can also give them your number and suggest they call you or text you whenever they believe that the noise is getting too loud.
You can let them know that this is a good way for you both to come to a solid conclusion of what exactly is too much noise.
And, they will call you instead of the police. So, that’s a win.
How to Deal With Neighbors Who Complain About Noise
If your neighbor is constantly complaining about your noise, you should first consider their position. Try to put yourself in their shoes and see how your noise could possibly affect them.
If, in the end, you feel as though you are not a loud person and, instead, your neighbor is being unreasonable, you can try to get a mediator to help you out.
A professional mediator will be able to listen to your views and your neighbors and help you reach a middle ground.
How Do I Deal With Noise-Sensitive Neighbors?
Dealing with noise-sensitive neighbors can be difficult but, your best bet to avoid any legal action is to open up communication with your neighbors and stay in contact.
Neighbors who enjoy complaining about everything tend to be attention-seekers. So, to keep them on your good side, you, unfortunately, need to give them attention.
Although this is annoying, it will keep them from calling the cops on you. If the cops receive too many noise complaints about you, you could face eviction.
Apart from being in communication with your neighbor, you can look into methods that may diminish the noise coming from your home.
Upstairs Neighbor Complaining About Noise
If your upstairs neighbor is complaining about noise, it is likely they are either hearing you speak, your music, or doors opening and closing. You should speak to your neighbor with an open mind to try and determine exactly what is bothering them.
It is important to listen to your neighbor with an open mind and give them time to complain without getting defensive. When someone is frustrated, they typically want to be heard.
Once you determine exactly what is bothering you, try to adjust your activities for the next week.
Ask your neighbor after the week is over if they noticed any change. Hopefully, your change in actions is enough for them and they will back off.
Downstairs Neighbor Complaining About Noise
A downstairs neighbor is sometimes in a vulnerable position as they may hear your every move, especially if you live in an older building. Ensure you listen to their complaints to find out exactly what is bothering them.
For example, if they believe you to be a heavy walker, you can consider wearing soft slippers around the house. Definitely do not wear any shoes in the house- especially heels!
Once you listen to their complaints, assess your actions and try to adjust. If you simply find the complaints to be unreasonable, you can consider hiring a mediator to help you both reach common grounds.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Records Your Backyard
Can I Soundproof My Home?
Soundproofing your home can be an expensive task but it may be worth it in the end if it keeps your neighbors from complaining. You can start by sealing gaps under your doors and installing sound-absorbing curtains.
If your neighbor is constantly complaining about your noise, it is possible that you are producing more noise than normal. Instead of changing your entire lifestyle, you can attempt to soundproof your home.
Here are some products that we recommend that will help you soundproof your home:
How Do I Defend Myself Against Noise Complaints?
If you receive a noise complaint and you are a first-time offender, you can ask your landlord or police for a warning instead of an official complaint.
But, you should keep in mind that allowing a warranty is not mandatory. If the cop or landlord does not want to give you a warning they do not have to.
If you believe the complaint is not valid you can try to appeal it to either the cop or the landlord.
You should provide details about the noise complaint and let the landlord or cop determine if that is valid or not.
My Neighbor Keeps Complaining About My Noise Levels
If your neighbor keeps complaining about your noise levels, You should attempt to find a professional mediator to help you find a middle ground. Sometimes professional mediators are free or even volunteer.
A mediator may benefit you if your neighbor is particularly stubborn. The mediator will likely end up being on your side and can shine some light to your neighbor that they are being unreasonable.
How Can You Tell if a Noise Complaint Is Unreasonable?
Unreasonable complaints about noise are typically about something that you cannot control, including footsteps, having a get-together that is over once quiet hours start, and running water.
Someone typically knows when they are being louder than usual. If you know that you are not doing that, it is possible that you are dealing with a very noise-sensitive neighbor.
Any complaints made against you that seem invalid are typically events that you cannot control, as mentioned footsteps, running water, and having a get-together that is over once quiet hours begin.
If a noise complaint is made against you and you are visited by the police or landlord, you can explain to them the situation and let them decide if it was unreasonable or not.
How Do I Deal With Unreasonable Noise Complaints?
If you are presented with an unreasonable noise complaint, You should first explain to either the police or the landlord the details of the situation and let them decide if the noise was unreasonable.
You can also ask the neighbor or landlord to let you off with a warning so that the noise complaint doesn’t go on your record.
You will then have to try to resolve the issue with your neighbor. Starting a conversation about what exactly bothered them can provide both of you with understanding and hopefully reach a middle ground.
Once the situation has de-escalated, you can think of starting to befriend your other neighbors.
If you have other neighbors in your good books, it is likely that they will vouch for you if your neighbor continues to complain about you.
Unfounded Noise Complaints
Dealing with unfounded noise complaints can be very frustrating but you shouldn’t feel at a loss. There are strategies you can take to help protect yourself from such accusations.
Begin by documenting every time your neighbor complains about you. Document exactly what you were doing and what they complained about.
If your neighbor complains so frequently, you may have grounds to charge them for harassment.
Either way, having these incidences documented will benefit you if ever have to deal with the law. Additionally, you should contact your landlord each time they complain so you may have a witness, as well.
How Do I Respond to a Neighbor’s Complaint?
When your neighbor is complaining about you, you should listen to them with an open mind. You should consider that perhaps you were in the wrong and try to understand where they are coming from.
Once you give them the benefit of the doubt, they may calm down and be more open to hearing your side of the story.
After apologizing, explain to them that you were unaware that the noise was bothering them.
You can offer to give them your phone number so that they can text you whenever they feel like the noise is becoming too loud.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Has Bed Bugs
The Legalities of Noise Complaints
So, after all of your gracious neighborly interactions with your stubborn neighbor, they still call the cops on you. How lovely. Let’s look into what exactly can happen if the police get involved.
What Constitutes a Noise Nuisance?
You can get charged with a noise nuisance if you are producing unreasonable noise for an extended amount of time. Unreasonable noise is technically any noise louder than 60 decibels- the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner.
Unreasonable noise can be any of the following:
- Loud parties
- Loud music over 60 decibels
- Slamming of doors
- Stomping or running loudly
- Loud conversations
- Excessive dog barking
- A baby crying excessively
The noise has to be excessive enough to interfere with your neighbor’s enjoyment of their home or yard.
Is Noise Nuisance a Crime?
Noise nuisance is a crime, more specifically private nuisance, that typically involves a fine of no more than $1,000 and jail time of no longer than two years.
Private nuisance is a crime that involves someone who disturbs the enjoyment of someone else’s home or property, typically a neighbor.
If you constantly annoy your neighbors with loud noise, this can constitute as a private nuisance and they may have a chance of getting you charged.
This is why it is important to explain to a police officer exactly what was going on so they can determine if you were acting unreasonably or not.
A private nuisance charge usually occurs after several complaints about you.
At What Point Is Noise Nuisance?
Noise will become a nuisance as soon as it starts to affect a homeowner from the enjoyment of their home or property. Typically a nuisance charge is laid after several complaints.
It is unlikely for you to get charged with a noise nuisance after your first complaint. You may only get charged if you have had a warning and several other noise complaints.
The complaints also have to be deemed valid.
Can I Get Evicted for Numerous Noise Complaints?
It is very possible that you can get evicted because of numerous noise complaints. If your lease specifically details when you must turn down the noise and what will happen if you don’t, your landlord will have the grounds to give you an eviction warning.
However, your landlord will need to receive a court order before they are allowed to evict you. Without a court order, it is a criminal offense to evict a tenant.
If you are experiencing a noise-sensitive neighbor, you should speak to your landlord about it. It is possible that others have complained about this neighbor as well causing the landlord to be more on your side.
You also just want to be in your landlord’s good books if it ever does come down to an eviction warning.
Can I Call the Cops on My Noisy Neighbor?
You can call the cops on your noisy neighbor but you should attempt speaking with them first, especially if it is their first time being noisy. Having an open discussion with them is a kind and courteous thing to do.
You should give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt before you involve the police. Being visited by cops can be a scary and traumatizing experience, and sometimes, things can escalate fast.
Therefore, speak to your neighbor about their noise is bothering you and give them a chance to correct their behaviors.
What Time Is My Neighbor Allowed to Play Music Until?
Most cities have a bylaw that states you cannot play loud music after 10 PM, sometimes 11 PM. If your neighbor is playing music past these times, you have the right to tell them to keep it down.
These laws are put in place so citizens can enjoy their homes without excessive noise coming from their neighbors.
If your neighbor is being too loud, you can either talk to them in the morning about it or pay them a visit now. Just remember to remain calm and give them a chance to speak.
We know that it can feel almost hopeless to deal with a neighbor who is constantly complaining about you, especially if you are doing nothing wrong.
Just remember to document every time they complain about you while keeping a friendly relationship with them and your landlord.
You will need all the help you can get if you ever receive a warning eviction. But, this is likely not the first time your neighbor has targeted someone so you may have more hope than you think.